I am a huge fan for innovation. It is essential for individual and organisational growth.  And NOW is the time for innovation to help organisations adapt to the global pandemic. Not to diminish the horrific toll this has taken on human life and wellbeing, or the economies of the world, with its unprecedented level of uncertainty, but that is also an opportunity as it causes us to question everything. Our values, our priorities and organisational policies and procedures.

“Necessity is the mother of invention.”

To survive in business, we need more than perseverance and resilience, we need adaptability.

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent,
but the one most adaptable to change.”
Leon Megginson[i].

Hospitality has ‘adapted’. While food delivery services have existed for a while now, it was very much the food delivery service promoting the various restaurants. Now the restaurants are promoting the delivery service they provide.

When lockdown commenced, my favourite Thai restaurant (Holy Basil Thai) provided special vacuum sealed packs that you could cook at home and specialty Mother’s day (and now Father’s day) hampers, all delivered to your door (in the local area). While their beautiful dine in experience is currently out of reach, their mind blowing cuisine isn’t – and this ensures that they will still be there when we come out of lockdown. But will anyone want to dine in after this is all over? After all, free (or low cost) delivery and the comfort of eating at home on the couch is pretty inviting.

Of course they will and I will be first in line! While delivery and take away will continue to exist, the experience of dining in, and the presentation and freshness of the food is greatly missed. When your favourite restaurant re-opens, there may be fewer tables and you may need to book well in advance, but we will still crave the ambiance and joy of “Going out”. It makes it something special – going out for a meal.

While cinemas are mostly closed, and with streaming services taking a strong foothold during lockdown, will we see people wanting to return to the cinema post Covid? 97% of those surveyed said they couldn’t wait to experience a movie on the big screen, surrounded by enthusiastic fans with a ‘choc-top’ in hand. Even with limited seating and social distancing, it makes it something a little bit special – going out to see a movie.

What about in class training and development? Face to face facilitation? Many of us have adapted to an on-line delivery and that has been great, but does it spell the permanent death of ‘in-room’ training? I don’t think so. On-line delivery serves a purpose, but the experience and interaction just are not quite the same. We adapt our on-line delivery to include more engaging visuals, some polls, breakout rooms, lots of Q and A sessions and as many breaks as possible to maximise engagement. But it is still hard to hold people’s attention. One report said that our concentration span in an on-line environment is about six minutes and then we start to get distracted and drift off.

Short sharp on-line sessions will always continue. They are economical and suit certain topics and individuals very well, but there will always be a need for face to face learning. Perhaps it will be different, with a limited, socially distanced, return to the classroom (once staff return to work). Instead of cramming 30 people in a room built for 20, we will book in 12 or 15, and instructors may also need to keep their distance from individuals. But nothing beats a well facilitated interactive training event, where participants participate, network and learn from each other, as well as the facilitator.

The aim of learning and development should always focus on the best outcome for the learner. On-line events are an addition to the learning and development professional’s toolkit, not a replacement of it.

If you would like advice on how to safely return to Classroom training, please feel free to contact Adam Le Good at Fundamental Training and Development on 0412 101 115 or adam@ftd.com.au.

 

[i]       While this quote is often attributed to Charles Darwin, he never said it (to our knowledge). The phrase was coined by Louisiana State University Professor, Leon Megginson in a 1963 speech where he was summarising his thoughts on Darwinian theory. It then morphed into a direct quote from Darwin.